ROK raps Japan's export curb at WTO

Samsung boss visits Tokyo amid Japan-Korea trade scuffle escalation

Kang "expressed concern that this is undesirable in terms of friendly relations between South Korea and Japan and trilateral co-operation among South Korea, the USA and Japan", Kang's ministry said in a statement.

Moon on Wednesday met executives from several companies to discuss the crisis, telling them the decision by Tokyo was meant to damage South Korea's economy, AFP reports.

Under the current regime, Japanese exporters would require government approval before they can ship the products to Korea.

South Korea's trade ministry is in talks with its Japanese counterpart about the timing and agenda, but nothing has been decided, a ministry spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Junichi Ihara, Japan's ambassador at the country's permanent mission to worldwide organizations in Geneva, stressed at the meeting that the Japanese measure does not amount to a trade embargo and is fully in accordance with WTO rules, noting that it represents an operational review needed to ensure the appropriate implementation of the country's export regulations, according to informed sources.

South Korea's foreign minister told United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Japan's export curbs against Seoul are "undesirable", the foreign ministry said on Thursday, as a trade dispute between the East Asian neighbours grows.

At the meeting of the WTO Goods Council in Geneva on Tuesday, South Korean Ambassador Paik Ji-ah said South Korea was the only country affected by Japan's trade curbs, and expressed concerns that Japan was also reviewing whether to further tighten trade measures, according to a Geneva-based trade official who relayed the ambassador's comments in the closed-door meeting.

Japan pushed back on Tuesday against calls from South Korea to scrap restrictions on high-tech exports to its Asian neighbor, as a diplomatic row over forced wartime labor escalates between the two key US allies.

The issue of South Koreans who have been euphemistically described as comfort women - those who worked in Japanese brothels during the Second World War - has repeatedly flared between the countries.

Sheila Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said it may be too early for Stilwell to assess what the USA could do to help.

The latest dispute stems from a South Korean court ruling a year ago that ordered Nippon Steel compensate former forced laborers.

"He is likely to begin with what I would call deep listening".

Japan says the issue of forced labour was fully settled in 1965 when the neighbours restored diplomatic ties.

Samsung Electronics is the world's largest memory semiconductor maker, with its chips accounting for some 20% of South Korean exports.

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